Toronto Zoo rhino pregnant with first calf

by samantha_ashenhurst | May 18, 2023 11:18 am

Zoo resident Sabi, a 13-year-old white rhino, is expecting her first calf, the facility reports. Photo courtesy Toronto Zoo[1]
Photo courtesy Toronto Zoo

A big bundle of joy is expected to arrive at the Toronto Zoo this fall.

Zoo resident Sabi, a 13-year-old white rhino, is expecting her first calf, the facility reports[2].

While every rhino pregnancy is exciting, Sabi’s is especially so, the zoo shares. Upon her arrival at the facility in 2012, Sabi was identified as having “long” estrus cycles (approximately 70 days in length, compared to the typical 30 days of fertile females), which has made conception a challenge.

Following continual adjustments in husbandry and diet, Sabi’s behaviour in spring 2022 suggested her hormonal cycles had switched from the sub-fertile long cycles to the typical cycle length. The zoo’s Wildlife Care and Reproductive Science teams initiated breeding introductions with fellow white rhino resident, Tom.

Sabi is trained to participate in voluntary ultrasound examinations, which allowed zoo teams to confirm her pregnancy and monitor the calf’s early development.

“We are overjoyed with the news of Sabi’s pregnancy, and it is such a great example of how the various zoo teams work closely with one another,” says the Toronto Zoo’s director of wildlife care, Grant Furniss. “The co-operation between Wildlife Care, Wildlife Science, Nutrition, and Veterinary teams was instrumental in getting us to this point in Sabi’s pregnancy. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and at the Toronto Zoo this is certainly the case as we prepare for newborns—Facilities and Maintenance teams will soon begin making modifications so that we are baby-ready!”

Given a white rhino’s gestation period is 425 to 496 days (approximately 16 months), Sabi is expected to give birth some time between early September and late October.

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  2. the facility reports:

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